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LETTER OF THE DAY - State to blame for Tivoli leadership vacuum

Published:Monday | December 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Juleus Ghunta ('Boyne misguided on Tivoli', December 19, 2014) deserves thanks for his well-informed critique of Ian Boyne's comments on Tivoli ('Tivoli enquiry just drama?', December 14, 2014).

Ghunta reminds us how Tivoli came about, and how it was maintained - from a bold idea to one perverted by narrow political interests. Its shortcomings as a garrison/political stronghold are hardly the fault of the people living there. Nor can there be any excuse for the massacre inflicted by agents of the State in May 2010, as well as on previous occasions.

The writer also informs those who may not know that the rule by one don made Tivoli a safe place for its residents, a far cry from the situation today. If the discipline was heavy-handed, this is hardly something peculiar to Tivoli in a country with one of the largest rates (and even number) of extrajudicial killings in the world.

But more to the point is that a don can only succeed in a vacuum left by the State, meeting needs that are ignored by the formal political system. Since taxpayers' money (plenty of it paid by those in Tivoli through income tax and GCT, at least) is not made available for the purpose, who can be surprised at the illicit source of the necessary funds.

To understand the evolution of Tivoli is not to condone or excuse everything that went on there, as I have said already. But to follow Ian Boyne's argument would be to celebrate also what has happened in Iraq in recent years, again because of dishonest agendas - a regime with its good and bad aspects now a destabilised mess after a bloody incursion, in which ordinary folks are worse off. An honest agenda would attempt to build on the good aspects and improve people's lives.

Those responsible for the 'garrisonisation' of Tivoli (and other similar communities) need to be brought to book for such a transgression. Those who would now (the same people) kill and maim because they had lost control (even whilst still benefiting) need hauling before not just our local commission of enquiry but before the International Criminal Court for all the world to see, and for appropriate sanctions to be administered.


Tivoli Committee